St. Stephen, King of Hungary
GEYSA, fourth Duke of Hungary, was, with his wife, converted to the Faith, and saw in a vision the martyr St. Stephen, who told him that he should have a son who would perfect the work he had begun. This son was born in 977, and received the name of Stephen. He was most carefully educated, and succeeded his father at an early age. He began to root out idolatry, suppressed a rebellion of his pagan subjects, and founded monasteries and churches all over the land. He sent to Pope Sylvester, begging him to appoint bishops to the eleven sees he had endowed, and to bestow on him, for the greater success of his work, the title of king. The Pope granted his requests, and sent him a cross to be borne before him, saying that he regarded him as the true apostle of his people. His devotion was fervent. He placed his realms under the protection of our blessed Lady, and kept the feast of her Assumption with peculiar affection. He gave good laws, and saw to their execution. Throughout his life, we are told, he had Christ on his lips, Christ in his heart, and Christ in all he did. His only wars were wars of defense, and he was always successful. God sent him many and sore trials. One by one his children died, but he bore all with perfect submission to the will of God. When St. Stephen was about to die, he summoned the bishops and nobles, and gave them charge concerning the choice of a successor. Then he urged them to nurture and cherish the Catholic Church, which was still as a tender plant in Hungary, to follow justice, humility, and charity, to be obedient to the laws, and to show ever a reverent submission to the Holy See. Then, raising his eyes towards heaven, he said, "O Queen of Heaven, august restorer of a prostrate world, to thy care I commend the Holy Church, my people, and my realm, and my own departing soul." And then, on his favorite feast of the Assumption, in 1038, he died in peace.
Reflection. —"Our duty," says Father Newman, "is to follow the Vicar of Christ whither he goeth, and never to desert him, however we may be tried; but to defend him at all hazards and against all corners, as a son would a father, and as a wife a husband, knowing that his cause is the cause of God."
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 36, 30, 31
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart (P.T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 36, 1. Be not emulous of evil-doers; nor envy them that work iniquity. Glory be …
Grant unto Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, it may be worthy to have for its glorious defender in heaven blessed Stephen, Thy confessor, who it had for its champion while he reigned on earth. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Ecclus. 31, 8-11
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.
[The just man that hath not gone after earthly things is praised on earth and shall have glory everlasting.]
Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? For he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed: and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the Church of the Saints shall declare his alms.
Gradual • Ps. 91, 13-14
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. Ps. 91, 3. To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night.
Alleluia, alleluia. James 1, 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life: Alleluia.
Gospel • Luke 19, 12-26
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[Zacheus entertains Christ. The parable of the pounds. Christ rides upon an ass and weeps over Jerusalem.]
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And calling his ten servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them: Trade till I come. But his citizens hated him: and they sent an embassage after him, saying: We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that he returned, having received the kingdom: and he commanded his servants to be called, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
And the first came, saying: Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said to him: Well done, thou good servant, because thou hast been faithful in a little, thou shalt have power over ten cities. And the second came, saying: Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said to him: Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying: Lord, behold here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin;
For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up what thou didst not lay down, and thou reapest that which thou didst not sow. He saith to him: Out of thy own mouth I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up what I laid not down, and reaping that which I did not sow: And why then didst thou not give my money into the bank, that at my coming, I might have exacted it with usury? And he said to them that stood by: Take the pound away from him, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. And they said to him: Lord, he hath ten pounds.
But I say to you, that to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound: and from him that hath not, even that which he hath, shall be taken from him.
Offertory • Ps. 88, 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with Him: and My name shall his horn be exalted. (P.T. alleluia.)
Do thou regard, O almighty God, the sacrifices which we offer, and grant that we, who celebrate the mysteries of the Lord’s passion, may imitate what we commemorate. Through the same.
Communion • Matt. 24, 46, 47
Blessed is the servant who when the Lord shall come, He shall find watching: Ament I say to you, He shall set him over all His goods. (P.T. Alleluia.)
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God that we may follow with due devotion the faith of blessed Stephen, Thy confessor, who, by spreading abroad the same faith, merited to go from an earthly kingdom into the glory of Thy heavenly kingdom. Through our Lord.